Friday, May 29, 2009

The Real Life Adventures Of Luther R. Tillotson

About a year ago my family went to a garage sale and brought back this type written book?, of about ten pages. Well I give it a fast glance then put it in my library in the garage. Yes in the garage, it’s not a real library I just call it that, it’s a big book case filled full of history book and what nots and just too many to have in the house, says my wife. Well I got it out today and began to read it and found I couldn’t put it down. When I was done I know I had to put ( Luther Rudolph Tillotson) story on my web site.

Now the grammar is bad but, I deiced not to change anything, oh I could fix the grammar, but I felt it would be taking something from the story. I know she put in a lot of hard work on his story, and I just feel that by changing the errors the story would not be or read the same, for this reason his story stands on it’s own.


By and about.

Luther Rudolph Tillotson.

In 1905, I was a instrument man in Nevada on a railroad maintenance survey party. The railroad was named the Tonopah, extending from Hazen via a switchback at Tonopah and terminating at Goldfield through the heart of the gold boom region. Twenty-eight miles south of Hazen was Churchill Junction where the Tonopah met the Virginia and Truckee Railroad of Comstock Lode fame. Beside the tracks at this junction there stood the adobe ruins of Fort Churchill where the first trans-continental telegraph crews held their historic East-West meeting under soldier guard.

The road was standard gauge from Hazen To Tonopah, with the added attraction oh three rails for nine miles from Mina to Mina Junction to accommodate the narrow gauge with terminals at Mina, a freight division point, and Keeler, California. At the junction the standard gage turned eastward. The one hundred and six miles of narrow gauge had a telegraph station and an agent approximately every forty miles. Meeting and passing points were determined by smoke.

The narrow gauge train usually consisted of combination baggage and local freight car, and a long day coach with smoking compartment also serving as the caboose. Lighting was by coal-oil lamp, with sperm-oil candles for emergency. The engine was an old wood burner, modernized. The freight service was three times a week, as food for the gold region depended on the irrigated Owens River valley, through which the narrow gauge meandered.

I had heard the Mormon bullwhackers tell of the Mormon patch of burlap bagging with which they repaired their tools and harness, and also of the Montana patch of baling wire. I encountered the latter when the engine broke down on splitting the switch at Mina Junction. The hoghead called back to the conductor for a piece of baling wire. The conductor yelled that his kit held some barbed wire, which answered the purpose, and we were soon on our way.

In order to secure right-of-way through the Piute Indian reservation south of Hazen, the railroad agreed that the ordinary Indian could ride on the open coaches free. The chief was permitted to ride free on the cushions of the day coach. When we traveled the narrow gauge on our work, the chief was invariably riding from one squaw to another. Always he wanted me to write a letter for him.

Once when he was less drunk than usual, I agreed. We seated ourselves in the smoking compartment. He proceeded to cross his arms over a very considerable paunch, closed his eyes, and between snores, began to dictate to me a very crude love letter to a squaw, but in good English. He never vouched the reason for the advanced missive, and mailed it at the next station. Just as the chief closed with “Please excuse the bad writing,” I looked up to see two of the menbers of the party grinning in the doorway. They had beenn there through the dictation and it was weeks before their ribbing died out about my writing abilities.

L. R. Tillotson.

( 1 )
Note. I transcribed from shorthand I jotted down while Dad talked. We were in the living room at 1321 MacVicar, Dad on the sofa, mother in a chair near the fireplace, and I seated near the foot of the stairs. Dad was utterly unselfconscious of my note taking. Unfortunately, I did not persist in the effort. I was doing this in 1954, dad died in 1955.
Note. It was one of his daughters ( Mary Belle? ) that took his sotry down.
In June 1902 dad graduated from Topeka High. He was class orator and had to give a speech.

July 1, 1902, he went to work for the AT & SF. railroad, in the blueprint room under John Dailey. He took the position with the understanding he would eventually go out on surveys.

Just before April 1, 1903, dad was notified to report to F. Meredith Jones at Llano, New Mex. A pass was issued for him on the Rock Island rail road to Santa Rosa; he had to pay his way from there to Llano ( now Espris ). The position was rear chainman of a survey party at $30, a month and found; in others words, all expenses plus a $30, monthly allowance. They were put up in tents but had to furnish their own bedding.

When he was put off the Rock Island train it was blowing sand and dust. He was put off at telegrapher’s place. The telegrapher was a man named Crew. All he had was a cot and a board with the telegrapher’s key. His clothes just hung around the wall. Crew told dad to go along track and he would find a section house. When he found it the place seemed deserted, but a man was batching there while his wife and boys had gone back home to Leavenworth. Dad and his companion lighted an oil lamp and crawled into bed. The companion was Ed Frank. Early in the morning they heard a knock at the door. Dad opened it and there stood a cowpuncher. He proved to be F. Meredith Jones. The party was still three days out but they would meet at the section house. The county was hilly desert. Ed Frank was a rod-man in the same party dad was to join.

They got up on the morning of the day third, ate breakfast and started walking to the top of Llano summit, a big hill. Dad saw his first mountains from there, the Pedernales. They were beautiful and golden with the sun on them. They reached the top of the peak where the survey would start, sat down and watched the dust of the party coming while F. M. Jones went to meet them. The party got in, hobbled the horses and mules and it was time to eat. They set up a windbreak of tent and heated up some stuff, stew and ancient bread. The instrument man of the party was a man named Williams, later retired as chief engineer of the Western Pacific, _____transit man. They set up camp while Williams and Jones hunted for section corners to start survey.

Next morning the stock had gone for home, with nobody having heard them. Am Indian pony a stub, had been trained to trot after wagon eating instead of being hitched. He had nipped at the other horses to start them off with him, back to Belen’s, a hot rotten place in the river bottom below Albuquerque. Everyone hunted for them but it was too dusty to see them. Granddad had told dad the first thing was to look at the shoeing of the horses. Dad found shoe marks; too dusty to see animals. One of the teamsters got a mount, found the horses by following the trail and drove them back.
( 2 )
They ran out of water and at the section house the man said they would have to wait for the next work train. An extra came through instead of the work train, a red ball freight. They had to stop and the conductor came down from the head ready to fight. They had passed up a red flag so the section man made them back up; they got their water and bucketed it up to the party. It was the next morning before they could start their survey.

Final location on which AT. & SF., built. The survey paralleled the Rock Island about three miles following Llano ridge and went about four miles east then. A new foreman named Martin Tobin showed up. Arthur Lagron, the first boss, had been born and educated in France. He had been sent over by a France stockholders syndicate to locate a couple of roads that ran out of Peoria, one branch having been taken on by the AT. & SF. He had made preliminary location and construction work but, a man of considerable means, had been retired in Peoria and came out on request of the At & SF. He was not happy and told F. M. Jones he would have to have relief. He paid his way back and Martin Tobin came out in answer to a wire.

Tobin went back to Llano summit and went east plotted a big fill. A man named Cunningham was topographer, did the drafting and was in charge of purchasing. They went east and dad drove the stake for the center of the depot at the present town of Vaughn. That was the end of that survey.
The party consisted of:
Chief Locating Engineer, F. Meredith Jones.
Chief of party, Martin Tobin ( First was, Arthur Lagron ).
Topographer and draftsman, Cunningham.
Teamsters, Carson, Zeno, Tilden Gilman ( A barfly picked up in Belen by Williams).
The teamsters reported to Cunningham.
Instrumentman, Williams, Transitman.
Head chainman, Shipman Lane.
Rear chainman, Tillotson.
Man to drive and carry stakes and axe-man, John Hand.
Level-man, George Wilhelm
Rod-man, Ed Frank.

Teamster Zeno, while Lagron is chief, Jones went to telegrapher’s office and there was a telegram from Zeno’s father telling him to send Zeno home because his mother was worried. Zeno had a pretty sister and a swell home with brass beds. He had come out to see the west and was a teamster, something he know about because he had learned from Becker at Belen. Zeno’s father was the biggest manufacturer of householed electrical equipment. He had been backed originally by Standard Oil to make gas fixtures. At the time ( 1903 ), he was making combination gas and electric lighting fixtures. Jones issued pass.
( 3 )
After the Vaughn survey they went back to Lagon’s line paralleling the Rock Island. Jones had surveyed it once but they never went by just one survey.

Water commenced to get scarce. The head teamster had to act as guide. He didn’t find any water. Dad took off. They stopped at Llano ranch, the headquarters for a Mexican ranch outfit, called it El Rancho Leon. A man came out and said he had 60,000, head coming and would hardly have water for them so couldn’t do anything for the party and didn’t know if anyone else could help either for drinking or stock water. He left and out came his wife. She said to follow the trail and wind along until they saw a little mesa ( Mesas were lava with a little earth and a few pines on top.)

They would find a house which would be abandoned and they could see from there a well. They went on. She said she would have drinking water when they came back. The well had a windlass with a barrel sawed in two and attached to a rope. They got up a barrel and a half of stock water. They still had an empty barrel. The woman had left at the gate one-half barrel of rain water. They helped themselves liberally and backtracked. These people had know the author of ( Black Beauty ). One of their horses was ( Black Beauty ), and the author had got his notes at their ranch. The big ranchers then were Portuguee or Spanish. This woman’s sons were then in Lisbon to be educated. The place where they got water was El Rancho Leoncito.

They went back to join party but had moved to a canyon where a windmill was located. Dad followed trail. Made an awful long drive. Jones was there when they got there, he said if they couldn’t do better for water they would have to make a 250-mile trek and teamster Carson would guide them. Carson was half Mexican.

Worked south of line again next morning. When they got in the darky cook from Albuquerque was gone. He was old, a strapping fellow, and had the job because they didn’t retire in those days. At noon a couple of cowhands had showed up. They all carried guns then. The cook was outside peeling potatoes. They had come to get something to eat and the code in that time was to give it to them. The cook said they would have to see the boss. They pulled their guns and said they were boss and they got fed. Jones came in and took cook to station at Leon and put him on a freight.

They went about a week without a cook and dad helped out with the meals. Jones finally brought one from Santa Rosa. He said he was much of a cook but thought he would do. He had some food and baked a canned apple pie. There was always plenty of tomato juice. They brought #10, cans of tomatoes, drank the juice and cook the tomatoes. Dad learned to make Mulligan stew when he helped cook ( learned out of his inner conscious ).

Shipman Lane was head chainman. He was tall, rawboned. He had been to high school, never out of San Francisco. He had complained about food of the new cook. There was one gong ( pound on skillet ) to get up. Same when breakfast ready. One gong but Shipman didn’t get up, even with Ed Frank’s prodding.

( 4 )
Lane’s placed had been at the head of the table next to Ed Frank ( both were choosey about where they would sit. ) cook asked where Lane was. Cook figured Lane evidently didn’t like his cooking. He goes into Lane’s tent. Lane was bigger but cook grabbed him up, bedding and all, and set him at head of table. He socked him on the side of his head so hard his head rolled. He told him that from now on “You like my cooking.” Lane said “Yes sir” and ate. Lane had turned up his nose at cook’s ( which wasn’t much ). The apple pie was soggy. Survey continued under Tobin.

Equipment-three wagons and a buckboard, an Indian pony and bronco for the buckboard, one team mules, two teams horses, one extra team.

Eating-big pans and skillets, #10 cans tomatoes, canned cherries and peaches, cabbage ( fresh big hard heads ), corned beef, fat bacon, ham, eggs bought by the case, Mexican beans, flour, sugar, coffee, condensed milk, fresh beef tougher then a boot. Usually put cabbage with beef. Coffee three times a day. Can of coffee, bread and meat ( Usually bacon) sent out on line. Cook beef around the clock. Fresh ( Tough ) rabbit sometimes to cook with beef. Rarely got wood; occasional busted railroad ties.

Near Logan ( first started in sinkhole country)-dug up yucca cut off top, cut with axe as low as could in the ground, pounded out on stone early Sunday before breakfast. Let dry all morning. After dinner get water hot in powder cans and wash hair and rest of self in washtub.

Not many antelope seen. Trading post man at Nara Visa said quite a heard north. Dad borrowed single shot shotgun. About a mile to rim of large bowl open on east end. Dad dropped down flat but antelope gone. Too sudden to have gun loaded. Trading post man estimated over 1,000, antelope in heard. Quite a sight running in dust.

Tobin was a Catholic. He and Williams always fussing. Tobin ( he had come back off ridge ) said to Williams to have men follow him to top of ridge and Tobin would wave arms when okay. The did. The thought Tobin waved but it was an antelope. Tobin said he was through. He was furious. Jones back in camp about this cook business, seeing how new cook getting along. Tobin said he quit. Jones wrote him a pass on Rock Island and Williams took over as chief.

Getting out of water and had to make 250-mile trek. In this camp dad told Carson they would want to get coyote pelts to get out on the ground with. Tents got so cold. Next morning Carson called dad and dad called shipman Lane and Ed Frank. Dad had borrowed gun, a single shot shot-gun and got it out from under bunk, flipped it to see if it was loaded. Lane ( Looked ) down his and pulled both barrels ( still so sleepy ). Ed Frank quite precise and had slicker folded over bed, shoes in certain spot ( big high top shoes ). Jones had made him send back fancy stuff at Llano. Lane ruined Frank’s slicker and one slug went through both sides of shoes. Frank just had to get along with his stuff until they got to a trading post.
( 5 )
Duran ( not present day Dran ). Ilfeldt had a trading post there ( he had a string of them ). First place Frank could get anything to replace shot-up effects. ( D. C. had warned dad against carrying gun ). Loaded up at Duran on food, ammunition, etc. Stayed there that night . Frank and Lane had to make arrangements to sleep indoors, of course. Threw up a shelter and bedded down in the open. A little rain had settled dust. Next morning they left.

Wound up at Santa Rosa, a division point of the AT. & SF. Dad head of party scouting trail. Dad saw Mexican come out of house and dip in spring on the edge of the mesa ( ____down into Pecos river valley ). Dad drank out of it. Smelled to high heaven, sulfur and alkali. Dad went down to ____along trail that crossed over Rock Island bridge. Everyone had hoped they would get ice at Santa Rosa but they didn’t have any. Along track dad found work train ( W. R. Stubbs construction train ). They had been putting in extra yard facilities at Santa Rosa. Dad got there before they put their cold beer away in car. They sold dad a bottle of beer for 20 cents ( cheap in those days ). Dad went back and made reports of stream. The train pulled out before the men got there.

In Duran they had got copy of Santa Rosa paper. On the front page it said “Seven young ladies pertaining to Scarlet Brigade are camped across the tracks.” Carson slept with “his cousin” that night. Drunk. Carson quit. Last of Carson. They followed trail out of Santa Rosa. They had tried to hire a Mexican guide but Carson had knocked him off wagon. He had to go back. Carson went back to his cousin.

They could see Rock Island track plainly. They followed trail beside it. They took turns driving wile rest sat back on bedding and played pitch. Dad driving by Montoya. They had seen it for miles upside down in the mirage. A little store at Montoya. What had looked like buildings were bid blocks of rock Island Ties. Store had once been home of Montoya family big folks in Spain. Regular mansion now crumbling. Montoya’s had put in good irrigation but ditches now full of sand. They kidded dad about his driving. He asked them in if they wanted anything in store. They said “Oh, if there was something.” So dad slapped the reins on the back end of the mules and turned them at right angles. They went at gallop right across ditch. Instruments in this, bedding and tenting. The ____in there because awful place to ride on wagon where no front springs and back about shot. Instruments and bedding tumbling around. They never said anything else for a long time about dad’s driving.

They went on from Montoya with a little water from section foreman. They got to Mount Tucumcari, a double mesa, a division point of Rock Island. A Rock Island branch called Roy branch to Roy mines ( Coal ). Good water up at Roy mines, 100 miles north (?). Brand new. At. & SF., maps didn’t show it. Neither did Rock Island. Following trail from Mt. Tucumcari to Roy, guiding by Mt. Tucumcari. Ran into brush and sand. Had to cut branches and lay on ground to help wagon. Here was gully; just stopped them. They could still see Tucumcari mountain. Had to camp there. Then turned around and went to Tucumcari. Got there at noon. Town marshal asked if they had any guns. Williams said yes. A week before there had been a shooting scrape by strangers. Williams said they would pull on out and he give his word they would put up guns in town.
( 6 )
Not long till 4th, of July 1903, Kept on. Lacking water till they got to ford at Elm Creek. Don’t know why it was called Elm. All kinds of folks headed for fourth celebration at Tucumcari. A good ford and horses drank fill and they filled barrels. Pulled up to a town called Logan. Had a trading post run by a man named Rankin and a store or two. Rankin financed out of watrous. Made camp at Logan.

Jones showed up and said they were to go on about 20, miles next day and tie onto Texas State line. Went to Nara Visa near state line. Trading post there run for benefit of Wolf ranch. Fellow showed up there named Scotty. Jones hired him as head teamster. Started backwards on little parallel on Rock Island under general supervision of Jones. Jones said to sleep at depot at Logan. Ate at Rankin place. Slept out in open to begin with. Got away from wind by sleeping on south end of depot platform. Twelve-inch planks ( 2x12 ) had been cupped by weather. During night rain came down went over roof and came back under them in cupped planks. They went inside about midnight, just bedded down when train whistled. Two fellows there with bicycles. One bought ticket and got out door. Other ran around on top of them, then ran out and agent had to go out and get his money from him. Held up train. Then they managed to get sleep.

Got up next morning and went back to Nara Visa. Cunningham a southerner used to hiring darkies in construction work on Mississippi River levees. Trading post at Nara Visa let them have a case of force and broken cases of vegetables and two cases of carnation cream, something yet fairly new on the market. ( Nara Visa a crossing point of Denver and Ft. Worth now called Colorado and Central and owned by Burlington ). They were expecting in cattle and he didn’t have things to spare. They went back to windmill with good water and had big old tin bowls and filled them. Filled bowls with force, put in milk and alkaline water. Each used a whole carton of force, bigger than big corn flakes cartons. Got it all down but dad couldn’t eat cereal for a long time.

Jones making preliminary stuff to parallel Rock Island from fence where they tied in and went clear across Texas to see if they would go. The party went back to tie in to Texas State line. Three-fourths mile west from Texas never had been surveyed. Trying to find section corners and had dickens of a time. Government had required Bell Ranch to replace corners but on stones had placed bell instead of government inscription. Jones brought letter to Lane from his brother who was an office engineer, some people were to go to California and dad sick because he was not on list.

Necessary to go load car half of it was stock, half the bedding. Three teamsters to go. When they got letter Scotty said to Jones he had to get money and buy partner some groceries. Scotty didn’t turn up till third morning. Jones lit into him. Scotty said they were out of groceries. Partner said they were short of meat so they just as well get a deer. They slept, heard rustling, he shot, deer took fence, stobs and wire and everything with them.
( 7 )
That evening dad went down by stockyard. Here comes Jones with brass from Chicago office. Jones wanted help carrying wood stove they had to load on car. Jones to front end and dad took back, shoving it forward on Jones so he really carried it. Made it to top of steps got it on platform of stockyards, managed to shove it in and close and thought it necessary to seal doors ( seal of antimony or some such soft metal, stamp it with AT&SF., seal which locks it officially ). Jones puts on back and, staggering, said “You think you’re a pretty good man, don’t you?” Dad said “Yes.” He said, “You go on and join party in California.

Dad took midnight train east. An old-fashioned train. In smoker turn two seats around face to face and sleep in them. Dad only had about fifty cents. Party had sent along big breakfast of sandwiches and stuff. Dad got letter about 1903, flood. D. C. had stood at foot of Western avenue and helped boats get in with people. Dad thought about all of Topeka covered. Boys exercised dad going back to flood district, but it was down when dad got back home. He wander around North Topeka. Party was to meet at Albuquerque to head west. They were making up two parties. Dad at Topeka in July 1903, D. C. wanted him to stay and go to school. No money. Dad returned to Albuquerque after about a week in Topeka. Dad stayed at cheapest place called Sturgis House. Dad had got paid in Topeka by AT&SF., Everybody happy since all got paid.

He went to California on coach. Met a Mrs. Capwell whose husband was resident engineer at Belen. Mrs. E. W. Grant and Mrs. Capwell were sisters. They later wrote his mother about their visit. Mary Grant ( Daughter of Mrs. Grant ) taught Latin at K. U., forever. Williams at Albuquerque wired J. J. Keyes who was chief engineer in charge of construction ( out there because of T. B. ) Eight days before Keyes answered.

They get away at midnight. Dad had $6, of his pay left. Keyes had four big residencies under him and he had been traveling, two east and two west. They were getting ready for track. They had been working days so hot. Dad gave Williams $5, and he kept $1. Cook had wanted 10-cent package of sweet caporal cigarettes. He said just before dad left on midnight train to come to back door of Alvarado kitchen. Dad had slipped and torn leg of new trousers. Dad went to cook who could sew it up and he did. He handed dad a great big sandwich. Dad went right to smoker where rest of boys were. A man asked him what that cost him-a fancy chicken and egg sandwich. Dad said it was in repayment for a favor. Man said he paid $2.50, for one. Cut a loaf lengthwise. Boy dumbfounded and dad didn’t offer to divide. Last he saw of cook. Cook with them ( Bar fly ) used to bum sandwiches for them. Not the cook of ( the ) sandwich.

Transfer at Daggett. Over to Hatch by ( Tehachapi? ) slow four per cent grades and tunnels. Landed at Bakersfield. See folks along way waiting for train to pass. No money to even gamble in pitch game. At Stockton a telegram from W. B. Storey who was supposed to meet Williams at AT&S F, offices in San Francisco. They were to go to San Francisco and pay way from there to get paid at Willits. They got to San Francisco but they didn’t have any money to go on to Willits. Williams went to hotel in San Francisco. They were floored they would be let in such a plush place. They said they had no money but it was only ____they had baggage. Boys out early looking for free lunches. Would meet at entrance to Monadnock building where AT&SF, officers were, a new building in those days. Boys all had checks there but dad. Got way paid up to Willits. Storey met them at train and unbent more then usual. Take bus up to Willits hotel but dad didn’t such a short distance.
( 8 )
New Mexico-Coyotes followed wagons parallel and behind. Shot at them but never hit one; just to see how fast they really would go. Coyotes chased dogs back under wagons. First camp at Llano summit, borrowed a dog and pup. During night dog ran out to front of tent, barking to keep coyotes away. Pup followed him out, then held himself under dad’s bunk for the rest of the night. Only dog able to keep with them on a survey party. Camps usually a headquarters for awhile and they work both ways from it.

New Mexico-Accuracy required of railroad surveys. They would try to find two section corners this crossed the railroad line. They would have to run a line from one section corner to other and chain line ( measure a line ) from the corner so they would be in an exact location of the line ( an exact tie ) so would hitch with government surveys. Distances between stakes depended on just how many takes you had with you, usually. Save stakes by pulling them up if line not acceptable. In New Mexico, owing to rarity of section corners, about every week they would determine true north from Polaris. You didn’t have a way of getting Direction from sunlight. Chained surveys with real chain, quite a knack to learn to throw the chain. Learned to throw the steel tape in a lop for transportation purposes.

A Sunday chore was to undo tape and string it out and see how accurate it was with government steel tape. Learned to use a railroad chain that was 100 links to 100 feet. The old chain was a land measure chain and it was 66 feet long because it would fit with measurements of side of an acre. The prototype of present transit and level and steel tape and rod and poles for survey party was brought from England by Dixon for line.

Tents and cots for sleeping. Railroad furnished tents and cots and each furnished own bedding. Cook had tent to himself. Office tent used by chief of party, transit man and instrument man. It would have drafting board and what ever office equipment they had brought. Tent for teamster, and the feed they stocked was kept there if it rained. Usually a surplus they would have to store in there. One tent for everyone else. All big Tents.

Cooking arrangements-A stove. Carried some wood with them all the time plus coal ( the main heat ) they got from section houses. Tents had no warmth in them as a rule. Get warm in morning by getting a big old 5-gallon lard can, stuff paper in it at night. The fellow next tent flap would get up in shirt tail and bare feet, throw one tent flap back ( flaps tied shut during night ) and fasten it back. Usually let head teamster do that. Can just in the opening. Drop match in can and everyone would jump and dress fast as he could, teeth chattering. Coal oil stove not in fashion. Cook just used coal oil to get fire started in morning so his tent always had some burnt holes. He would holler “Fire.” but no one would pay any attention to him. He would scramble around to put out fire.

Granite-Were pans, common steel forks and knives since before days of aluminum ware. Cook had two big tubs for washing purposes so he could wash out clothes after a fashion.

Harness-If it was patch with burlap, was a Mormon patch. If patched with wire it was the Montana patch.
( 9 )
California-At Colonel Hardin ranch the road had blown out but on leveler side of it sat an old-time rail fence for a corral. One evening after supper dad crawled up bank and looked over rail fence and here stood Colonel Hardin. He was surrounded by genuine Texas longhorns and away-backed Arkansas hogs. Dad asked him what he was doing keeping these things. He said he had a desire to go to California and prospect for gold. His home was in east Texas. He went to nearest port and took ship around the Horn. It was without incident until they got to Erueka bay. Storm struck them. They went onto rocky beach and were stuck but managed to get all off with what they had on them. Boat broke up. He had very little money. There wasn’t any gold in the vicinity. He struck out looking for homestead that had timber on it. He homesteaded 320 acres as a timber claim; now 14,000 acres. He used what little money had to eat and trade on. He did pretty well in lumbering business, buying and selling footage.

When he made some money he decided he would go back to Texas, see his folks and marry his childhood sweetheart. No railroads then. He went overland on foot and horse. Stayed just a spell in Texas, married girl and got hold of ancestors of these longhorns and razorbacks. He started to herd them back from Texas. That was in “84.” He missed Indian difficulties. He managed to herd to California. He kept them in remembrance of home.

Hardin had a son on the ranch who was always wandering around very well dressed. Sundays dad talked to him and learned lots about identification of trees, location of springs, etc. He had been born on the ranch. He wanted to go to ocean and learn ways of seamen. He did and finally bought boat for $90,000 and had captain’s license. He was doing alright in tramp steamer business. Tried to make a fortune running guns and ammunition to Russians at Vladivostok. He got caught at dock when the Japanese besieged. They took him to Japan for trail before a Japanese court, sentenced him to death by hanging but American ambassador interfered. He was finally got off by agreeing to go back and stay on old home place for ten years. That’s why he was running around through forests. He had read every book he could get his hands on. The U. S. marshal came by every two months to check to see if he was there. Left tanbark oak branches just there, dead.

In California surveying various preliminary and locations from Willits to ______There was another party north of them. The end of the line had recently been finished to Willits. A ruckus on between AT&SF, and Southern Pacific. Running a bunch of surveys from Tiburon clear up to _____bluffing each other.

First they run a preliminary line. They put a few stacks on---news to the level party to keep in line. The rodman’s duty is to step off distance in between. Then topographers take off on either side of the line to determine slope of the ground. Then they plat ( or plan? ) another preliminary line, or two or three, depending on how rough the ground is. The topographers put in contours. If they decide that one of the preliminaries is good enough, they retrace the line more accurately--like determining haw accurate the north is, resetting angles, etc. Mountain country around there terrible. Ran out innumerable surveys and make modification (?) so they would be different.
( 10 )
Pacing-Normal stride they try to hold to -30 inches to a pace ( 40 paces to 100 feet.) F. Meredith Jones was deadly at it. Get your direction a foresight and a backsight ( terrible with mirages jumping up and down.) Count to 40, remember how many stations he had. Jones might pick out a tree up on a mountain and pace for miles. This was preliminary stuff. Reconnaissance was picking feasibility of route. Determine how much right-of-way would cost in already settled country, number of acres of timber, pasture, fills, etc. Fremont did reconnaissance for U. P. by finding the pass.

Jones daughter lives in Topeka--a Mrs. Chrysler. He had several boys. Jones maintained home with wife back in Santa Fe. She was Mexican and morose, didn’t go any place with him. Only child that favored him was one son who got really good education at K. U., a graduate, but was morose. This son committed suicide by jumping off bridge. Jones has specialized in math at Northwestern. First time dad knew he was friendly, Jones said to dad “If I had authority I would take you with me on my trip around the world.” He was accurate on estimates of lumber from a stand of timber. Jones was gone for a year on tour around the world. AT&SF sent him.

Last time dad saw him was in the summer of 1905, in Newton office working in the right-of-way sketches. Dad had back room, dirty walls that had been originally painted ____, window dirty in a kind of well. One little old carbon light with no shade hung from the ceiling. He came behind him just enough to shade his drawing. Dad thought it one of the boys but it was F. Meredith just grinning.

Jones had beautiful spencerian shaded handwriting. Jones said president had told him he would have to have a stenographer with typewritten work. Very few stenographers in those days. Dad said he knew of a girl who was doing that work for the office engineer but that Jones would want a man really with an engineering education.

Jones said he was in room No. 1, of the Harvey House. Had a private bath, walls decorated, beautiful drapes at the windows. There was a fellow, though, who had taken a business course in addition to graduating from K. S. A. C., so dad introduced him to Jones. Jones sitting there with maps and things spread out. Jones never a man to say a great deal. Not long till man was back from Jones’s office. Jones was then chief locating engineer for the system. Jones looked like a cowpuncher except he always wore real shoes except for hobnail boots in woods of California. Jones middle height, ______bowlegged, always had a squint _______eyes but never did wear glasses that dad knew of, always traveled light, had just one outfit at a time.
( 11 )
Family History.
Luther Rudolph Tillotson, born July 5, 1884 in Topeka KS., to Dewitt Clinton Tillotson and Belle Viola Rudolph. Luther married Eva Gertrude Kinley on January 18, 1919, they would have two daughters, Mary Belle Tillotson born January 8, 1921 and Margaret Gale, born October 31, 1927.
Luther Rudolph Tillotson would die of a heart attack on August 26, 1955.

Update January 3, 2011.

I received A nice letter from the Grandson of Mr. Tillotson, and he give some interesting insight into his Grand-fathers life.

My name is Charles R. Ragsdale. I am the grandson of L. R. Tillotson (as he was generally known, or just Luther).

I was born in Topeka, Kansas at Stormont-Vail Hospital. It sounds like my Aunt Mary Belle transcribed my grandfather's story, then typed it up. How this record came to escape the Tillotson Family I do not know. It may have come about after the death of my Aunt Mary Belle from cancer of the liver in 1966 in the same hospital I was born in. I am glad you got to read this memoir and that you appreciate it.

There are many other things of great interest that happened to my Grandfather. He was in the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906, was evacuated to the Presidio with the other civilians, and wrote home to his mother about it, describing the events of the earthquake and fire in considerable detail. I believe this record remains in the family. He also was Captain of A Company from Kansas (I believe) during World War I and nearly died on a wire-cutting expedition in the Battle of Belleau Wood. (He was spared by a heavy ground fog that morning.)

He later went on to become the Chief Engineer for the Kansas Highway Department (I believe) and later, when he had formed his own construction company, erected, among other things the huge (approximately) 400 ft. high smokestack near the Capitol Building that was torn down several years ago, but which had been a Topeka landmark for many years, visible from almost anywhere in Topeka.

He was educated at the University of Kansas and also Washburn University, in Civil Engineering and specialized in the design of bridges.

Despite the fact that I was only 5 years old when he died in 1955, I have very vivid memories of my Grandfather. He was a real sweet-heart of a person, although he could be "tough as nails" on the outside due to all of his travels in the West and his experiences in WWI. He was very "plain spoken", but also very gentlemanly and kind-hearted. I have many memories of riding on his shoulders, receiving pieces of cut agate polished by some friend of his from him. I own his gold pocket watch and a Navaho Indian blanket he purchased in 1905 out west, as well as other memorabilia. The blanket is actually believed to date back to about 1885, as it was about 20 years old, and used by the Navaho, at the time he bought it.

Charles R. Ragsdale.

Update March 13, 2011.

I received a letter to day from John Richmond, who is a other grand son of Mr. Tillotson.  I found the letter and his comment very interesting, I believe others will too.

The Letter.

I have just posted to your blog re: my grandfather's tales of working as a surveyor, apprentice (if you will) engineer, et al. I spoke with my cousin, Charles Ragsdale, last night; it was the first time I had heard about these recorded comments. I *think*. We lived with my grandmother after Grandpa died in 1955. I heard many stories about my grandfather and his adventures, and knew that he had surveyed in the west and southwest, and that he had been in SF in 1906, for the great earthquake. I am astonished that the typed book appeared for sale.  The only thing I can think of to explain it is that somehow, after my grandmother died, the book perhaps was thrown away. My mother, who died in 1967--two years after Grandmother T. died--was not a terribly sentimental woman. And yet, whether she or my aunt quickly took notes in shorthand and typed them up later, I think it would have been odd for my unsentimental mother to discard this bit of family history.  VERY mysterious. And, alas, my mother has been dead for forty-four years, so I cannot ask her anything. My father--himself a historian, retired as State Archivist of KS, and later Assoc. Director of the KS. State Historical Society--is alive and well and living in Topeka, but I doubt that he would know about the document printed on your blog. Though I may have to call him to find out *what*, if anything, he knows.

This is truly remarkable. As they say in the language of cliches: I am blown away.

John Richmond.

Kansan and proud of it! but now living in Illinois (and, in 58+ years, have lived in IL more than I have in KS, even though I was in Topeka from infancy to age 18, and off-and-on throughout college and grad
school after that) Son of Mary Belle Tillotson Richmond, 1921-1967.

His Comment.

I, too, am the grandson of Luther Tillotson, and the cousin of Charles Ragsdale, who has posted a response to Grandpa Tillotson's stories. It may be that my mother, Mary Belle (Tillotson) Richmond, 1921-1967, took notes in shorthand, then transcribed. As my mother was a stickler about grammar and spelling, I would guess that the stories were, indeed, scribbled in shorthand and later typed as written. I am amazed--just talked with my cousin last night--to learn of the notebook, written comments, et al. My father, mother, brother, and I lived with my Grandmother T. after Grandpa died in 1955; had we not moved in with Grandmother *and* paid rent, Grandmother would not have been able to keep the house that her husband designed and built for her/them in the 1920s. I heard many stories about my grandfather and his western adventures when I was living with my grandmother (1955 until her death in 1965).

I am thunderstruck--to use an old expression--that the notes would have been found in public, for sale. It is true that my mother was not a sentimental woman, and when my grandmother died, it's possible that Mother would have discarded various items that my aunt, my cousin Charles's mother, would have been horrified to see tossed. On the other hand, I have a series of letters that Mother wrote home to Topeka during the summer of 1944, when she was working for the Union Pacific RR, in Yermo, CA; she was a teacher, wanted to go to grad school (which she did--U. of WI-Madison, M.A. 1946), and was working that summer in order to a) make ends meet, and b) save for graduate school. So not all family documents were lost to memory.

This revelation of the recording of Grandpa Tillotson's adventures is astounding to me. I was only three years old when my grandfather died; we lived in Topeka, but I have no memories of him. My cousin, Charles, does. Anyway, this has made my day, as the tired cliche goes.

John Richmond, now living in Bartonville, IL, near Peoria

Son of Mary Belle (Tillotson) Richmond and R. W. Richmond.

March 13, 2011, I received other letter from John Richmond, which he give more insight into his grandfather life.

One of the stories connected with the S.F. earthquake is somewhat amusing, even under the circumstances. Grandpa was rooming with a woman and perhaps other boarders in a house. The woman became hysterical when the quake hit, gathering belongings together, wanting to escape the house, etc. She had filled up a bed sheet with something heavy, gathered it up like a very large bag, and asked Grandpa to carry it downstairs and out into the street. Which he did. When he got outside, he found in the sheet--flour! The woman, being frightened and having lost the kind of sense that can get lost (I went through a house fire once, and know how bizarre it can be, to lose one's head, so to speak), had taken all the flour she had and dumped it in a sheet. My grandfather was street commissioner in Topeka in the 1920s, as I recall. He was an active Democrat, even though my grandmother was a devout Republican.

He formed his own company, sometime after his term as street commissioner, and set himself up in business as a civil engineer. Unfortunately, an unscrupulous business partner--as my grandmother used to tell it, my grandfather was a bit too trusting, and could be naive, despite his many experiences in all sorts of places, from the still somewhat wild west to the trenches of World War One--and a flood on the Kansas River took what he had, both money and equipment. He had to take a relatively low-paying job with the State of KS--Highway Dept., as I believe--and never recovered money or confidence in himself. My grandparents were able to keep the house referenced in the document that you have, the house on MacVicar Avenue, only because of legislation that passed under FDR. (The only time Grandmother had anything good to say about a Democrat, I'm told. Though she mostly didn't speak of politics. When I was growing up in the 1950s, it literally was true that my brother and I were taught that one did not discuss publicly three things: religion, politics, and a woman's age. My own mother probably would be horrified by today's laxity in such matters and manners.)

Update May 29, 2013.

I received a nice letter from Laura Chappell.

Dear Mr. Segelquist,

I stumbled upon your entry about Luther Tillotson and his experiences on the railroad. Did you buy it at a garage sale in Topeka? I was just wondering because my grandmother, Margaret Tillotson, had done extensive research on the railroad and compiled a box full of Luther's journals and information and had planned on writing a book on his experiences. She was a noted Kansas needlework artist and wrote a two volume novel of the Tillotson family geneology. Before her death, she asked my aunt to use the research that she had gathered to write the book. (By the way, the notes that you mentioned were written by Margaret, not Mary Belle). She died in 2005 and my grandfather Herbert Ragsdale died in 2008, so my mom and aunt were stuck with the monstrous task for emptying their house in Topeka. I now believe my aunt unknowingly sold the contents of the box in her garage sale. I'm so glad that you are interested in the journal. Thank you so much for sharing it. I'm an aspiring writer and english major who is interested in writing the book that my grandmother had planned to write. Was there anything else along with the journal that you saw at the garage sale? I'd love to buy the journal (or any other information about Luther you got from her sale) from you, if you're willing to sell it. Your entry got me really interested in my great grandfather's life on the railroad and when I read your entry to my mom, she was surprised and mentioned the research her mother had done and that Margaret had asked my aunt to write the book for her. This led me to believe that you bought the book on Birchwood Ave in Topeka, KS in 2009, when they had finished clearing out my grandparent's house. I'm so glad that I found your blog and that you're interested in the life of a railroad worker too!

Laura Chappell

James Morris Fayettee, Civil War.

James Morris Fayettee.

Says he was born in Patrick County, Va. When he was twelve years old his father moved to Marsh Fork of Coal River. Prisoner says he new lives on Sand Lick Creek, a fork of Coal River. Says he was arrested at home by a part of Phelps' company. They stated he was deserter from Captain Adams' company. Says he was with Adams' company awhile, perhaps a month. Mustered with them out never signed a paper or was sworn in. Says he was never regularly mustered into service. He says when While retreated from Kanawha his captain gave his company leave to go home, but to meet again to go to Greenber. Says only twenty-four met a place of rendezous. He want sent by the captain to get fifteen of the men to return. Names eight only of them. He represents he was riding about the county hunting for these men until he was arrested. Says he went three times at Jacob Petries'. Was on Paint Creek the 15th of October; cannot tell why. Was as Brownstown purchasing goods for his family. Does not remember from whom he bought them or whether it was from and old store or one newly established. Will not tell where he was the day before him arrest. (Note. - He was arrested on the 25th of October; the 24th, the day before, was the day of the election held by the usurping government of Wheeling.)

Captain Bailey says he knew the prisoner as a citizen and a soldier. As a citizen he was generally regarded as a dissipated men. As a soldier all he knows was stated by Captain Admas before a court-martial in which this man's case was heard. He was regarded as a faithful soldier until this desertion. Says the case was postponed by the court until further evidence. After the prisoner was sent to the guard room Doctor Moss, who had been requested to appear as a witness, appeared. Doctor Moss said he came to the prisoner's house immediately after his arrest and the soldiers who arrested him found an Enfield musket and a Northern uniform in his house. The prisoner was re-examined and stated the musket and uniform were left the night before in his absence by one William Workman, a cousin of the man now in prison. What they were left at his house for he does not know. I called at the adjutant-general's office but the adjutant-general and Colonel Chilton were out and I was informed there were no returns of Adams' company in the office, but the clerk made no examination. In this case I am satisfied that Morris is a deserter from Adam's [company], Floyd brigade, and that after his desertion he was actively going about the country and among the disaffected tories and was no the Kanawha near the enemy. He does not account for the uniform and Enfield musket found in his possession. I think he should be held and further inquiries be made to bring him to justice as a deserter who joined the enemy.

Clara Judd, Civil War Spy?

U. S. MILITARY PRISON, Alton, Ill., May 11, 1863.

Statement of Mrs. Clara Judd, who has been a prisoner in Alton Military Prison over three months as a spy.

She denies being guilty. Her health is failing very fast (having been in feeble health for several years) from confinement. She wishes to be paroled and go to her parents and little children who are living in Minnesota. She makes a statement here how she came in the south and how she came to be arrested.

"I am the widow of the Rev. B. S. Judd and a native of the State of New York. My parents live in Minnesota where I also resided with my husband seven years prior to going South. We moved to Winchester in November, 1859, on account of my health and on account of there being a chance of educating our children and board them at home and keep them under home influences. We had eight children. Six of them were going to school in 1861, when my husband went to Nashville on business and while there he went to view some statuary at the capitol; accidentally stepped off the parterre and was injured so that he died in just four weeks, leaving me with seven children (one having died in the fall) without money, with a great deal of unfinished business and not a relative or Northern person that I ever saw two years before. My friends in the North wrote to have me come home, but I had taken out letters of administration and had no means and the blockade soon closed all communication.

I struggled on with my children's help who went to work at anything they could get to do until Christmas, 1862. I was censured very much because I did not put my oldest children, being boys, into the army. I could not think it my duty to let them go on either side my health being so poor and I liable to die at any time with heart disease. I thought they ought to preserve their lives to take care of those younger. At Christmas I put two of them into a Government factory to keep them from being conscripted. The factory was removed to Atlanta, Ga., in May. I was here and in the meantime I had sent the next oldest into the same business. I could not hear from them or from the North and I had no means to support my four remaining children but what I could to myself. Winchester was taken possession of five different times by the Federals. I always treated them as brothers; had a house full every time they were there. (I never had a Confederate soldier in my house.) The 1st of August Thomas took possession of the town. Among his troops I had many acquaintances who told me they were going to destroy all of the crops except enough to last six weeks. They advised me to get my little children to my parents in the North. I could not stay to dispose of anything.

I had three cows and seven acres of crops and my household goods and husband's library. I got a protection from provost-marshal for my things and a little boy twelve years old; borrowed money and took my three youngest children out on the second train through from Decherd to Nashville. I was to be gone four weeks. I arrived in Minnesota on the 11th of August. Three days after I got there I had to take my children and flee from the Indians, which detained me three or four weeks instead of two. I then started with money enough as I supposed to take me to Nashville. I intended to go back and dispose of my effects if possible and get my boys out and go to Nevada Territory for two years. I had made arrangements for my sister to take care of my little children for three years, but when I arrived at Louisville they were expecting an attack from Bragg.

"I went to New Albany and was taken sick; was there six weeks. I after incredible trouble succeeded in hiring some money to pay my expenses and take me to Nashville where I was acquainted with the clergy and would get help there. I started but could not get my trunks through farther than Mitchellville. I was very deficient in clothing myself. I thought I would go to [Louisville] and get me some funds and come back to New Albany and pay the borrowed money and get a few clothes for myself and a hand knitting-machine which I had been talking of getting for several years. I accordingly did so. Told the offices at Nashville my whole business and tried to get a pass to go and come back, but could not get one to come back. When I got to Winchester I found everything destroyed except my husband's library and the son I left gone to the same business the others were at and that I could not get my sons out. When I left I supposed Buell would keep the country. I came back and was detained at Murfreesborough three days in trying to get a pass.

When I got one I could not get any conveyance but walked eleven miles after 10 o'clock, the last three miles in my stocking feet, having blistered my feet the first three miles. I got a carriage at La Vergne to take me to where the flag officers were, as there was a flag that day. Just before I got there came a carriage from Murfreesborough bringing a gentleman who was said to be a prisoner of the South. The Federal officers would not let me through until they had been to headquarters. I wrote a statement to Rosecrans. While waiting there the person from Murfreesborough commenced questioning me. He told me he was from Connecticut. My husband and parents were from there. We soon seemed like old acquaintances. He wished to know where I stopped in Nashville. I told. Said he stopped there, and then said he would see Rosecrans about my pass; said he thought he had more power there than Colonel Hepburn. The second day after this the flag officer came out; told me that I could go, but would have to go under guard. I told them I would; I was perfectly willing. I had nothing but some open letters-those I sent to Rosecrans. I walked almost seven miles, my guard mounted.

After giving a statement to headquarters of everything I saw while in the South I went to the same hotel where Mr. Forsythe (that is the name of the prisoner from Murfreesborough) put up. He was not there and the house was full. I went to a private house where I was slightly acquainted. The next morning I went to the provost-marshal's office and got a pass to go to Louisville. I found there was a battle near and that I would either stop in New Albany or go to a god-son's in Illinois and wait until times were settled after the battle, but when the clerk gave me my pass he said I could not go. The next day I wanted to go to Mitchellville on account of getting some clothes. I accordingly sent a note to Mr. Forsythe asking him to call wishing to have him provide me with a private conveyance to Mitchelville, he having informed me while out with the flag that he had been a merchant in Nashville for some time before he went to Murfreesborough.

When he called he said he was going to Louisville the next day but one; wanted to see my pass. I finally told him my hurry to get through was mainly because I had heard about what time Morgan would interrupt that road and that I feared I would be left South which would trouble me very much on account of paying the money I had borrowed by a certain time, as the people had placed confidence in me. He said he was very glad I had told him as he had $30,000 worth of goods on the road or about to start, but wanted to know why I did to come back. I told him that at that time I feared come back told me before he was a widower; said he would like to become better acquainted with me; said Rosecrans had given him a pass to take my pass and have it changed to come back to Gallatin, where I could get to Murfreesborough after awhile. He went to headquarters and came back with the pass changed but laughed about the wording of it. He sid he would go with me in the morning and would be happy to render my any assistance I might need, and would introduce me to a merchant where I could get my things at wholesale.

"After we started in the morning I asked him how he came to have so much influence with Rosecrans. Said they were old neighbors, but after a little told me he was a Southern man as strong as any dared to be. I found I was in a close place. I could turn neither way, for the conductor would not wait for me to take my trunk aboard at Mitchellville, so that I could leave him in Louisville. He finally after we got there told me not to get anything contraband, but I told him there was nothing contraband while in the United States, and if I stopped finally urged me to buy. I told him I had no means; he offered me some money but I refused it. He then urged me to take the money I had brought to pay the debt I had contracted in New Albany. I was in debt in Winchester and thought if I had money it was a great temptation to buy and to stop in Gallatain and if Morgan took that part of the country it would help me out of debt but I did not yield at first.

I went to New Albany and found the lawyer gone from home. Forsythe went with me when he found now things were. He told the gentleman in the office that I had to sacrifice a great deal of my money so that I had not got the clothing I needed and that he would vouch that I would send the money back in two or three weeks through his name to Cahill and Hues, Louisville, and gave his name and theirs in writing. Then as soon as we were in the street told me to buy drugs, and he would send me whatever I wanted in the drug line, and as soon as I could get to Atlanta he would visit me and set me up in a commission store. I supposed it was all understood between him and Rosecrans.

I need not worry about it when I bought my drugs. I traded where I had bought 50 cents worth of goods while I was boarding in town. He did not stop in the store when I traded; I wondered at it. We did not get back to Louisville till 12 at night on Saturday; the ferry-boat detained us. I had agreed to receive my knitting-machine at 7 o'clock that night; I could not get it on Sunday. On Sunday evening he told me he had got a pass to go from Boyle, but he telegraphed to Nashville to see if it was all right; seemed very much elated. I ought to have mentioned before that my drugs were brought from New Albany in a carpet bag. He carried it for me and some little bundles besides. While I lighted the gas he set my things into my room and bid me was not in my room. I called the landlord. He said the guard found it standing on the out door step. I told him he did not for there was a light in the hall; Forsythe preceded me upstairs and that he set it down by my door while I was unlocking it, and that after he bid me good night I looked to see if there was anything left but there was nothing there. The landlord said [he] had it put in the office. The facts were when he bid me good night he took the satchel to the office; had it examined (the key was in it); then telegraphed to Nashville. When to Gallatin without molestation forthwith. My trunk was not opened. I told him on Sunday night I had to stay until Tuesday night on account of my knitting-machine. He said I must go with him and he would leave a line to have it expressed on the next train but I took a carriage and got it before the cars started. The officers from Nashville met us at Bowling Green and arrested me at Mitchellville, fifty miles this side of Gallatin; took me to Nashville where they confiscated everything.

"I was arrested on Monday before Christmas and have never known what evidence there was against me nor on what footing I was here until to-day. He has sworn falsely and misrepresented other things then said jocosely. The officer told me at Nashville that the fact of Gallating being attacked the very night I would have got there made it look like a preconcerted plan, but it was a feint of some of his men while like a preconcerted plan, but it was a feint of some of his men while he attacked Elizabethtown, but I knew nothing whatever more than what I had learned by Morgan's adjutant two weeks before, and I had been delayed and so had he by the Hartsville fight, and it was purely accidental my starting that day. I never spoke with Morgan nor any other officer of the Confederacy higher than a lieutenant-colonel and then only about my pass. Perhaps I ought to except General Polk. He is an old acquaintance, but politics were never mentioned. I never had anything to do with political affairs, neither do I wish to have.

"I am perfectly willing to make oath that this is as near the truth as I can get it from memory.


Nashville, January 13, 1863.
Provost-Marshal-General, Fourteenth Army Corps.

SIR: The following is the substance of the testimony elicited in the case of Mrs. Clara Judd, arrested by the army police on charge of attempting to carry through the lines articles contraband of war such as quinine, morphine, nitrate of silver, besides other goods, and one knitting-machine carried as a pattern, which articles, were found and have been purchased by her and brought within these army lines upon a pass obtained under false pretenses.

Mrs. Judd is the widow of an Episcopal clergyman who resides in Winchester, Tenn. He died some two years since leaving a large family of some seven children. Mrs. Judd passed through our lines with permission to take her three youngest children to Minnesota, from whence the family originally came. She took them, leaving them with a sister, she herself returning and passing through our lines to the rebel army. One of her oldest boys had found employment in the rebel establishment at Atlanta, Ga. During her absence her premises were seized on by the Confederates and her children remaining were taken by this young man to Atlanta. In the autumn of 1862 she returned to Winchester, went thence to Atlanta claims to have received some $500 Southern funds of her son, which she exchanged for money current in the North. She also received funds from persons who desired her to purchase articles from the North for them. Having thus provided herself she came through our lines and was, under her representations that she wished to go to her children in Minnesota, granted a pass North. She states that from conversation of officers of the Confederate service whom she met on the cars going from Atlanta to Murfreesborough she learned I was the intention of John Morgan to strike at our railroad communications near Gallating at a certain time.

She found a traveling companion in the person of a Mr. Forsythe northward. She went as far as Louisville and Jeffersonville or New Albany, procuring the goods specified, returned on a pass to Gallatin. She states that her intention was to stop at Gallatin and set up the knitting-machine and manufacture stockings, &c., for a living, her object in doing so being that she would be near her children in Atlanta; that her living would be cheaper than in Nashville; that she supposed it would be lawful for her to hold her goods in expectation that the enemy would occupy the country and that she would then fall into their lines. It appears that she was tolerably well informed because about the time she expected it Morgan did make an attempt on Gallatin and shortly after broke the road above there.

It is respectfully submitted that she is a dangerous person to remain in these lines; that she is probably a spy as well as smuggler; that cases of this kind being of frequent occurrence by females examples should be made, and that as there is at present no proper tribunal for her especial trial or proper place of imprisonment at Nashville, she be committed to the military prison at Alton in the State of Illinois, for trial. It is well to state further that Mrs. Judd represents her son at Atlanta to be a very ingenious mechanic and that it was her intention to furnish him with the knitting-machine for the purpose of manufacturing others from it taken as a pattern.

Very respectfully,

Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.

MILITARY PRISON, Alton, Ill., May 15, 1863.

Colonel W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL; I have the honor to forward herewith an application* of the female prisoner, Mrs. Clara Judd, now in confinement in this prison, for a parole to go to her friends in the State of Minnesota. She desires this indulgence on account of her health which for some time past has not been very good. The parole is recommended by her attending physician, Assistant Surgeon Wall, of the Seventy-seventh Ohio Volunteers, the prison physician. I inclose also a copy of the charges against Mrs. Judd. From what I have seen of Mrs. Judd since she has been under my control I am inclined to think if she were permitted to go to Minnesota she would probably remain there and give no further trouble during the war.

I have the honor to be, sir, with much respect, your most obedient servant,


Major Third Infantry, Commanding the Prison.


Major T. HENDRICKSON, Third Infantry, U. S. Army, and Prison Commandant.

MAJOR: I beg leave to respectfully represent to you that the condition of Mrs. Judd's health (a prisoner of war confined in the above-named prison) is such that in my opinion she had better be paroled outside the prison walls. The utter impossibility of having any of her own sex to attend her in sickness makes it impossible for her medical attendants to render her that assistance they could under other circumstances.

Respectfully, yours,


Surgeon in Charge Military Prison Hospital.

Commissary-General of Prisoners.

ALTON MILITARY PRISON, Alton, Ill., February 16, 1863.

Colonel W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners.

COLONEL: On the night of the 23rd of January last a Mrs. Clara Judd, a female prisoner, was brought to this prison in company with several male prisoners, all of whom were easily provided for except the female. I did not know what to do with her as there were no rooms about the building where cooking could be done without a great expense, as I myself with several other officers am boarding at these headquarter buildings and have her boarded at $2 per week. But I do not feel justified to continue such board without General Rosecrans. She has never had any trial but is held in this prison as a spy. Please let me know what I shall do in regard to her board. She resides near Winchester, Tenn.

I ask what can be done for prisoners of war who do not want to be exchanged and return to the reel army and rebel service but say they would positively rather be hung than return to such army and service and continue in such a war? These prisoners are nearly all Union men in feeling and some are anxious to join our ranks. Please instruct me in regard to this class of prisoners.

Colonel F. A. Dick, provost-marshal general at Saint Louis, Mo., has in some instances released prisoners of war other than those he sent to this prison, which by a letter of instructions previously [sent] to him and myself from you allowed him to release those only that he may have sent here. I call your attention to this but feel confident that Colonel Dick does not intend to assume power and improperly exercise it. A word from you on that subject is sufficient. All such prisoners as come under General Orders, Numbers 193, with your instructions added, are released by me as fast as we can satisfy ourselves as to the fact of their or they being entitled to such release. Please answer my three inquiries for instructions and oblige.

Very respectfully submitted.


Colonel, Commanding Post.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trouble In Researching, Need Stories.

As researchers we some times put are noses in where it’s not wanted. We some time ruffle a part of ones family feathers with out meaning too. When we are asked to look into some ones ancestry we don’t think of trouble, but we should, for even in this day and age there are families that would not like the family skeletons brought out of the closet.

Below is my story on what can happen when one is researching. I would like to hear from others that may have had similar experiences. Be general in terms, no family names, unless you are given the ok. Please do not post them here write to me directly. When I have enough I will be posting them on this site. My address can be found in my profile.

A few years ago I was asked by a gentleman to look into one of his ancestors, who was a old time marshal and out law. Well being interested in the old west, I said I would be glad too. I went into to it head long, looking into books and the web, with out thinking anything about it. Well we corresponded back and forth for over a year, then one day out of the blue he warned me to be careful as there were some family members living in my area and was not taking to kindly in my looking into their ancestor. It seems this family is very religious and would do about any thing to keep their family untarnished. After a year I found I was not getting any where, so I put it a side, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this person and still do too this day.

Then the day came when I decided to have a web site, but what to put on it? Then I thought about that ancestor, who I had over forty pages of info on, it was a great story but was just going to waste. I would title it the ( The Mystery Man.), well I spent three days putting the pages together, when it was done I thought he would be pleased, as my thought was if it got out on the web we might get some answers and new leads. I mush say at this time I had been warned never to put in print anything of the family unless he give the ok. I know I should of asked first but I didn’t think it would hurt as my web site had just started and would not hit the ( main stream ) of the web as I call it for about six months, which is about the time it took.

Well I thought I was save and he would like it and everything would be ok. Well I wrote him and asked what he thought, Well let me tell you If I had stood outside when he saw that page I would have heard him even if I was three States away, to say he was mad is to say the lest. He wrote me back and told me to remove it immediately or I would have more trouble then I could handle and he was thinking of coming up and telling me so face to face. Now I know what your thinking I brought all this on myself and you would be right, but I was new to all this, and I thought all would be ok.

He wrote me the next day and apologize for his out bust, but even so he had lost all trust in me and would not give any more info, and I was still not to give any info on the family.
I have over the years tried to write to him but he will not answer. I learn two good lesson from this, one, always following the guide lines your customer give you and second you never know when your going to ruffle some ones feathers.

The Men Of The Steamer Philo Parson.

Back ground on the Parson by the Naval Historical Center.

Philo Parsons was a Detroit-Sandusky steamer seized on Lake Erie by Confederate raiders in an attempt to capture USS Michigan, only United States war vessel on the Great Lakes, and liberate Confederate prisoners she was guarding on Johnson's Island, off Sandusky, 0.
The commandos boarded at Maiden, Upper Canada (Ont.), in the guise of passengers, 19 September 1864. Their leader was Acting Master's Mate John Y. Beall, CSN, who had helped Capt. Charles H. Cole, CSA, of Gen. Nathan B. Forrest's command—an escapee from Johnson's I. in July—organize the plot under chief Confederate agent in Canada, Col. Jacob Thompson (v. Georgian supra). Cole also claimed to have a commission as Lieutenant, CSN.

Cole was drinking with officers of Michigan when Beall took over Parsons; the scheme went awry, Cole was arrested and failed to send a messenger, as agreed, to Beall, but the latter proceeded according to plan regardless. Beall, in Parsons, had to stop at Middle Bass Island for wood; Island Queen "with a large number of passengers and 32 soldiers" tied up alongside them with the same intent. The Parsons raiders took them all prisoner, paroled the soldiers and left the civilians on the isle sworn not to leave for 24 hours. Island Queen was towed out to deep water and sunk; Parsons finally headed for Sandusky, but for some reason now unknown the crew all backed out, refusing to attack Michigan.

Nothing was left for it but to retreat: at Sandwich, Ont., the 20th, "after plundering and cutting her pipes to scuttle" her, Philo Parsons was left to founder while, according to Colonel Thompson, "most of" the Confederate conspirators escaped below the Mason-Dixon Line; Acting Master's Mate Bennett G. Burley, CSN, did not: Comdr. John C. Carter, USN, of Michigan telegraphed of Burley, "I have got the principal agent prisoner on board and many accomplices." Canada sought at the Burley trial to force Colonel Thompson's expulsion from the country as the espionage mastermind behind the Parsons, Georgian and other incidents.

There has been a lot written about the ( Philo Parson ) but little is said about the men on her, and what they saw and heard. The following are statements in their own words on what they saw and heard as the steamer was being taken over and what happen to them after the take over.

Affidavit of James Denison, engineer.
County of Wayne,

James Denison, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith, that he is twenty-eight years of age, and is engineer of the steam-boat Philo Parsons. Deponent further saith, that he was on board said vessel on her trip from Detroit to Sandusky on the 19th day of September, A. D. 1864; that said steam-boat left the dock at Detroit about 8 o'clock in the morning, with about thirty-five passengers on board. The boat, after stopping at Sandwich and Malden, and taking other passengers, put out into Lake Erie for Sandusky. After we left Kelly's Island, and about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I was in the fireman's room. I heard a noise on the boat and came out on deck. I then heard a man, armed with a revolver, call to Campbell, the wheelman, who was then ascending from the main deck to the upper deck, to stop and go down in the fire-hold. Campbell did not stop, and the man then fired at him, but did not hit him. There were eight or nine others, armed with revolvers, on the main deck, yelling and driving most of the passengers down into the fire-hold. After most of them were driven below they put down the hatches and put a lot of iron on the top.

All the crew of the main deck, except the fireman and myself, were driven below. I was ordered to work the engine just as they wanted me to. The boat was then steered out into the lake in a northeasterly direction. After running about eight or nine miles, they put her about and came back to Middle Bass Island, having previously inquired of me if I had wood enough to run seven or eight hours, to which I replied that I had not. They made fast to the dock at Middle Bass Island. I heard them fire five or six shots, but could not tell what they fired at. They then commenced wording up, with the assistance of some of the crew, whom they had released from the fire-hold. While so engaged the steamer Island Queen came alongside. I heard them firing again shortly after, but did not know till afterward that the engineer was wounded. They then drove all the passengers on to the Parsons, and put them into the fire-hold with the rest.

I heard them then parole some of the passengers and soldiers on board that they would not fight against the Southern Confederacy until exchanged. Besides those they put into the fire-hold, they put a good many, including several ladies, ashore. The Parsons then started out with the Island Queen in tow; and after taking her beyond Ballast Island they scuttled her, and she sank. After leaving her we ran beyond Mardlehead Light about two miles, and then turned back and ran for Detroit River. A little above Malden the life-boat was sent ashore, loaded with stuff taken from the boat. At Fighting Island, all of the passengers and crew, except three of the latter, were sent ashore in two boat-loads. This was about 8 o'clock in the morning. We then ran up to Sandwich and made fast to the dock. They then took a piano, three looking-glasses, and an easy chair out of the boat. They then cut the injection pipes and left her to sink, and all came off the boat. They appeared to be under the command of a man they called captain.


Subscribed and sworn to this 20th day of September, A. D. 1864, before me.
Notary Public, Wayne County, Mich.

Michael Campbell,
County of Wayne.

Michael Campbell, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith, that he is twenty-one years old and wheelman of the steam-boat Philo Parsons. Deponent further saith, that he was on board said steamer on her trip from Detroit to Sandusky on Monday, September 19, 1864, and that the following circumstances took place, as nearly as deponent can recollect: The boat left the dock at Detroit at 8 a. m., with from twenty-five to thirty passengers on board. I saw one man, whom I afterward recognized as the ringleader of the band, come over on the ferry-boat from Windsor about half an hour before the Parsons started with another man, another of the pirates.

He then saw the captain and asked him to stop at Sandwich and Malden, as there were some more men to get aboard there. The boat did not generally stop at Sandwich unless there were passengers there. I saw five others get on board at Sandwich. I heard the man who got on board at Detroit inquire of those who got on board at Sandwich "where the rest of them were." One of them replied that "they did not come." About fifteen more got on at Malden. I observed nothing suspicious until after dinner. One of the men who came on board at Detroit spoke to me twice during the forenoon, asked me some questions about the course I was steering, the distance to the island, and borrowed my glass to look around with. Just after dinner I observed two of them on the pilot-house, two on the wheel-house, and two aft on the hurricane-deck.

About 4 o'clock, and just after we left Kelly's Island, as I was standing in the saloon, I heard a shot, a yell, and then another shot. I then ran onto the main deck, and saw a man run after the fireman with a cocked revolver in his hand, shouting to him to go down the main hatch, or he would shoot him. The fireman escaped, and the man turned to me and made the same order. I hold him to "go to hell," and he shot at me, the ball passing between my legs as I was ascending from the main to the upper deck. On reaching the upper deck I saw five others with revolvers in their hands driving the passengers forward and detaining them. They then ordered them back to the cabin, commanded them to give up their arms, and searched some of them. From the cabin they were driven down to the main deck and down the fire-hold.

I was driven down with them. Soon one whom they called colonel came and inquired up to thrown over the cargo of pig-iron. They then asked me if I could fetch her back the same way she came. I told them I could; went to the wheel-house and turned her back. She had been running during the excitement for perhaps half an hour in the same course she was running when the outbreak occurred. They inquired where I could get wood, and on my replying that it could be obtained at Middle Bass Island, they ordered me to steer there. We reached there about dark and laid alongside the wharf. they fired two or three shots there at the owner of the wood and two other men who were standing on the dock, and refuse to help unpitying wood on board. The captain of the boat, who was on shore at the island that day, came down when he heard the shorts fired, and was seized and put into the cabin.

The steamer Island Queen soon came alongside. They made a rush for her at once. She was seized, and the passengers driven on board the Parsons. The Queen was then taken in tow, and both boats started for Sandusky. About half was between Middle Bass and Kelly's Island they let go of the Queen; told me they scuttled her, and I saw no more of her. When opposite Marblehead Light I told the one who they called colonel that it was dangerous to run into Sandusky Bay by night. He told me if I thought I could not get in then not to try it, as he did not want to get aground. I told him the channel was too narrow. He then called his men forward, conversed with them a few minutes, and then came and told me to head the boat for Malden. They told me that everything they met on the was up they were going to destroy. They established a regular watch on deck, and I turned the boat toward Malden. We saw but one vessel near to us as we went up; they told me to go alongside of her, and then asked what waters she was in. When I told him she was in British waters, they said they would not touch her. We reached Malden between 4 and 5 in the morning. About three miles above that place two of the men took one of the Island Queen's yawl-boats, filled her with plunder, and went ashore.

They told me to keep as near as possible to the British shore. They took all their plunder, piled it aft, sent ashore all the crew and the captain and engineer of the Queen at Fighting Island, and kept on toward Detroit. We stopped at Sandwich; made fast to the dock. The rebels put ashore their plunder, including piano, morrows, chairs, and trunks and bed clothes. Heard one of them say that if no one else would go he would take the boat across the river and burn her. They would not do this; but took the engineer below and made him cut the injection pipes for the purpose of sinking the boat. One of them then told me to come over that evening to Windsor, as they were going to have a great spree there. I said probably I would, but did not go. The colonel then came to me, remarked that I had been faithful to them, and he would make me a present. He handed me a half dozen spoons and eight silver forks. Said he had no money. The engineer and I started for Windsor; some of the party were before and some behind us, each with his load of booty. They were all young men, between twenty and thirty, and all armed with two revolvers and an ax.


Subscribed and sworn to this 23rd day of September, A. D. 1864, before me.
Notary Public, Wayne County, Mich.

Sylvester F. Atwood.
County of Wayne.

Sylvester F. Atwood, being duly sworn, saith, that he is fifty-eight years of age, a sailor by occupation, and master of the steamer Philo Parsons; was on board on her trip from Detroit to Sandusky on Monday last. Just after we left the dock the clerk informed me there was a man on board who wonted me to stop at Sandwich to take on some of his friends there. I saw this man, and asked him why he did not bring his friends to Detroit. He replied that one was lame, and could not well cross the ferry, and remarked it was not out of my way to stop. I stooped there, saw six or eight persons on the dock, and should judge four or five men came on board. One of them, a young man, walked lame, but soon revolved from it. The man who spoke to me about stopping at Sandwich was a stout, thick-set man, about twenty-five years old, a little under medium height; wore British clothes, and was apparently Scotch or English.

In going down the river he spoke to me about stopping at Malden; said that there would be some men to get on there; that there was a party going to Kelly's Island to fish and have a time. I touched at Malden, and I should think twenty men got on board, all young men except one, who told me afterward he was a surgeon. I could not see whether they brought anything with them or not, as I was on the upper deck. I thought most of them appeared to be Southerners or Northern refugees. Nothing particular occurred to my knowledge going down, except that ten or twelve of them kept constantly on the upper deck. I left the boat at Middle Bass Island, where I reside. I do so as often as once a week. The boat went on, and I saw nothing more of her until a little after 7. I did not see her coming in, but a little boy came running up very much frightened; said that they were shooting there and killing his father; and said the Parsons had come. I immediately started for the dock; saw a number of men running about there; went up and asked them what in hell was up.

Three or four pistols were at once pointed at me, and I was ordered aboard the boat. I refused to go, and replied that I was captain of that boat myself. Two of them shoved me onto the plank, and I walked aboard. They followed me to the cabin, and I saw the crew and passengers sitting there guarded by men with pistols. I asked mr. Ashley, the clerk, what it all meant; and he replied that the boat was seized by the rebels, and there was no use resisting. Pretty soon one of them, the oldest man of the party, invited me to sit down beside him; and on my asking him what it all meant, replied that he could not tell me; that he was a surgeon in the Confederate Army; that it was an unpleasant affair to me, but he had his duty to perform; that I had better take the thing cool, and that I should not be hurt.

I requested permission to go and see my wife, pledging my honor that I would return; but he refused. I then asked to see the captain, and he said he would introduce me to him, and that the captain wished to see me. He said he thought I'd get my boat again. About this time I heard the whistle of the Island Queen. I heard the order, "as many as could be spared from the cabin, come this way." The Queen came alongside, and a rush was made for her. I soon saw the passengers of the Queen passing on to out boat, under the direction of the rebels, and our cabin was soon filed with them. This man who came on board at Detroit stood at the door, ordered the passengers to come out, three at a time, under guard, and to be put into the hold. Most of the men were sent below in this manner; the women and children, and a few of the men were left in the cabin with me. The commander soon came along, and the surgeon introduced me to him. He said he wished to see me alone.

We went forward to my room. He asked me to pledge my word I would not leave the island in twenty-four hours, unless my boat came back; said he wanted me to go ashore and take charge of them; said he did not want me on board. It was then 8 o'clock, and a bright moonlight. I told him I wished to take some of my clothes; but he said I need not, as the room would not be disturbed. I gathered up a coat and a few little articles, and went ashore with the ladies. I took my house full, and made them comfortable. I soon after went toward the dock; saw other passengers coming off the boat; and the boats both left in about half an hour, the Parsons towing the Queen. I watched them till they passed Ballast Island; and about one and a half or two miles beyond there they parted with the Queen. The Queen soon after drifted out of sight. In the conversation with the campaign he said he should probably burn the Queen; and that my boat I should get again. They wanted to get rid of the Queen. I begged that the passengers might be sent ashore. I saw the boat pass up again about 1 o'clock, running very fast. When I next saw the boat she had been nearly stripped of furniture; a portion of it was returned on Saturday night. I should judge there were twenty-five pirates, who came on at Detroit, Sandwich, and Malden. They were most of them armed with two revolvers, and many of them with hand-axes.


Subscribed and sworn to this 25th day of September, A. D. 1864, before me.
Notary Public, Wayne County, Mich.

State of Michigan
De Witt C. Nichols,

De Witt C. Nichols, of Middle Bass Island, in the State of Ohio, mate or pilot of the steam-boat Philo Parsons, plying between Detroit and Sandusky, maketh oath and saith, that on Monday, the 19th day of September instant, he was on board the said boat, and acting in said capacity, from about 8 a. m. on said day, when said boat started from Detroit for Sandusky, until the capture of said boat, as hereinafter mentioned. Said boat was stopped and took in passengers as follows: At Sandwich, Canada West, four passengers; at Malden, twenty to twenty-five passengers, with luggage, especially one corded pine box, which seemed heavy; at North Bass, a few passengers, who seemed to belong to that island, where the owner of said boat resides; at Put in Bay, some passengers; at Middle BAs, at Kelly's Island, several passengers, leaving said island at 4 p. m. About three-quarters of a mile, and from fifteen to twenty minutes after leaving Kelly's Island (deponent being then at the pilot-house, on the hurricane-deck, and in charge of the ship, the captain having gone ashore for the night at Middle Bass), and the ship being on her straight course for Sandusky, the said Philo Parsons met and passed the Island Queen, passing at about twenty rods distance; passed her in the usual way, and without any communication or signal, private or otherwise, being exchanged to deponent's knowledge.

Immediately after passing her, and deponent being still at the pilot-house, he was accosted by one of the passengers - a man about five feet eight or ten inches high, fair complexion, brown hair, no side whiskers or mustache, wearing Kossuth hat, and apparently thirty years of age, who appeared afterward to be the chief of the party who seized said boat as hereinafter mentioned. He presented himself suddenly before deponent, and asked, "Are you captain of this boat?" To which deponent replied, "No, sir; I am mate." He then asked, "You have charge of her at present, have you not?" Deponent replied, "Yes, sir." He then said, "Will you step back here for a minute? I want to talk to you." Deponent then walked aft with him to near the smokestack, on the hurricane-deck. He then said: "I am a Confederate officer. There are thirty of us, well armed. I seize this boat, and take you as a prisoner. You must pilot the boat as I direct you, and" - pulling a revolver out of his pocket and showing it to deponent - "here are the tools to make you. Run down and lie off the harbor" - meaning the harbor of Sandusky, then about twelve miles distant.

Deponent then sat down on top of the pilot-house, an armed man being placed beside him by the said chief - who seemed to go by the name of Captain Bell - to keep guard over deponent. The said boat was then kept by said Bell's directions a little to the east of the true course for Sandusky, and run so for about eight miles, until a good view into the harbor at about eight miles, until a good view into the harbor at about eight miles distant from the bar, near Cedar Point, was obtained. It was then about 5 p. m., and the U. S. vessel Michigan was plainly visible, and many questions were asked of deponent by said guard in relation to said Michigan and her position within the harbor. After having examined the harbor thus, said Bell ascertained by inquiry from deponent that there was not fuel enough to take the boat very far, and that it was not usual to have more on board than enough to run the boat from the Bass Islands to Sandusky and back. Thereupon, and after some conversation among themselves, they ordered the wheelman to turn back for wood, and they accordingly reached the wording station at Middle Bass between 7 and 8 p. m., and did not transmit orders to the wheelman through deponent after having so put about, but gave him direct orders, permitting deponent to remain in the cabin until after the seizure of the Island Queen, as hereinafter mentioned. About half an hour after reaching said wording station, the Island Queen came alongside to land freight and passengers, and was boarded by said Bell's party, and her passengers, except the women and children, put down into the hold of the Parsons.

But before leaving said station, all except the captain, clear, and engineer of the Island Queen, deponent, the wheelman, and some others of the crew of the Parsons, were allowed to go on shore on engaging not to speak of what had occurred for a certain length of time. After leaving Middle Bass the second time, and having the Island Queen in tow, they shaped a course for Sandusky, and when between Ballast Island and Kelly's Island they cut off the Island Queen, and said they had cut her pipes, so that she would sink. Immediately after this, all said persons excepted above, except the engineer and wheelman of the Parsons, were ordered into the hold; and deponent saw nothing more until, after hearing said boat foul something (which deponent afterward learned was the inclosure of a fish-pond off Middle Bass Island), deponent was ordered on deck. On reaching the deck deponent found said vessel off Middle Bass Island, on her second return from off Sandusky harbor; and while below deponent was told by the engineer that they ran about two or three miles beyond marblehead on the straight course to Sandusky; but deponent heard nothing, and can conjecture nothing as to the reason for the said second return form off Sandusky harbor. Deponent was desired to pilot said boat for Detroit River, and did so.

On entering the said river said Bell pointed out certain vessels to deponent, and inquired what waters they were in; and being informed that they were in Canadian waters, remarked that it was a good thing for them that they were, otherwise that they would have boarded them. They there inquired for one Ives, a banker residing at Grosse Isle, and said it it had not been so late they would have robbed him; and desired deponent, as it was so late, to take the boat up the British channel. Deponent piloted said boat accordingly until reaching the head of remained until taken off to Ecorse by a small boat, getting on board the Pearl at Ecorse, and stopping at Sandwich. He there was the Parsons, and took possession of her, and sent word by the captain of the Pearl to Detroit of what had happened. Deponent saith that the second in command of said party was a man of middle stature, apparently about thirty years of age, wore a small mustache, and no other whiskers or beard; fair complexion, sandy-haired; wore a woolen cap, with a net peak; spoke with a Scotch accent, as well as deponent can judge; and appeared to understand the details of the engine fixings. The whole party were young men except one, who called himself a surgeon, and were generally fair-complexioned and rather full-bodied men. Two of said party left the said boat in a small boat belonging to the Island Queen, after having passed Malden, the Patrons being slowed for that purpose; and deponent saw them shape their course for a point about a mile north of Malden, where there is a mile kiln. Deponent was robbed by said party of clothes and other effects which he could not replace for $200.


Subscribed and sworn to this 25th day of September, A. D. 1864, before me.
Notary Public, Wayne County, Mich.

James Denison,
County of Wayne.

James Denison, being further duly sworn, saith, that when the Parsons returned to Sandwich there were not more than three persons on the dock; they appeared to be Canadians. I did not stay there more than fifteen minutes. They made me show them the injection pipes below, smashed one of them themselves and I cut the other. As I was going up street I saw ten or fifteen men and boys coming down. They were talking among themselves, but I heard little of what was said. The rebels, I thought, were talking about burning the boat; and one of these Canadians, a grayish-headed man, about forty years old, said they should not do it there. Soon after Campbell and I walked away, and one of the rebels walked with us to the head of the street. I did not see them take the piano from the cabin to the lower deck, but saw them take it on the dock. Did not see them injure the boat there, except to cut her pipes. Saw most of them walk away; some went up to Windsor with us, each with a bundle of plunder in his hands.


Subscribed and sworn to this 25th day of September, A. D. 1864, before me.

Walter O. Ashley
County of Wayne.

Walter O. Ashley, being duly sworn, saith, that he is twenty-eight years of age, and is clerk and part owner of the steamer Philo Parsons. Deponent further saith, that he was on said steamer on her trip from Detroit to Sandusky on Monday last. On the evening before, about 8 o'clock, a young man, about twenty-five years old -evidently Scotch or English, stout, thick-set, a little below medium height, dressed in English clothes, very light hair, very thin, light-colored beard - with the address of a gentleman, came on board the boat, called me by name; said he and a party of friends were going to take a pleasure trip to Kelly's Island in the morning, and wished the boat to stop at Sandwich and take on his friends, one of them, being lame, did not like to come up. I told him if he would be at Detroit in the morning himself to let me know if the men were going the boat would stop and take them. I told him further that they could take no baggage, as there was no custom-house on Kelly's Island. The steamer Philo Parsons left Detroit on the morning of September 19, at 8 a. m., with about forty passengers.

Immediately after leaving Detroit this same young man, whom I had frequently seen before, came to me, and calling me by name, said there were four passengers who wanted to take the boat at Sandwich, a small town on the Canadian side of the river, some three miles below Detroit. I reported the same to Captain Atwood, and he stopped and took them on. They said when they came on board taht they were taking a little pleasure trip, and intended to stop at Kelly's Island. All the baggage they had was a small hand-satchel. At Malden, twenty miles down the river on the Canada side, where the boat stops regularly, there were about twenty men came on board and took passage for Sandusky. As it had been quite common of late to take on nearly that number of passengers at this pint nearly every trip - most of them being skedaddlers from the State of Ohio, and getting starved out in Canada and returning home I at once set the party down as a lot of skedaddlers returning home. A large old fashioned trunk, tied up with ropes, constituted the baggage of the party. Everything went off quietly during the day.

The boat stopped at a number of the islands, taking on quiet a number of passengers. Captain Atwood stooped off the boat at Middle Bass Island, where he resides. Shortly after leaving Kelly's Island, between the island and Sandusky, I was standing in front of my office, when four of the party came up to me, and drawing revolvers, leveled them, and said if I offered any resistance I was a dead man. At the same time the old black trunk flew open, and in less time than it takes to write it the whole gang of about thirty-five were armed to the teeth with revolvers, hatchets, &c. I then told them that they apparently had the strongest party, and guessed I should have to surrender. They then stationed two men to watch me, the remainder rushing into the cabin and threatening to shoot any one that offered any resistance.

There was a large number of ladies on board, who were very much frightened. The boat was then headed down the lake for about an hour; then turned around and ran to Middle Bass Island. While lying there the steamer Island Queen came alongside and was instantly seized. Quite a number of shots were fired, and a number were struck with hatchets, but I think no one was killed. The passengers of both boats were then put ashore, and a portion of the baggage. After taking what money I had, they requested me to go ashore. They allowed me to take my private property, but none of the books or papers belonging to the boat.

The boats were then started out in the lake, the Parsons towing the Queen a short distance into the lake and then let her go adrift. From observations at Kelly's Island next morning, the Queen was supposed to be seen ashore on Middle Island. After putting off the passengers at Middle Bass Island, the Philo Parsons headed for Sandusky and was gone about four hours. She afterward returned under a full head of steam, and after passing Middle Bass headed for Malden, Canada, and steering in that direction as long as she could be seen.

The crew of both boats were retained and made to do the bidding of the parties in possession. I heard the captain of the gang say that he would place myself and the passengers where we could give no information until morning, and before that time their work would be completed. He said it was their intention to run to the mouth of Sandusky Bay, and if they received the proper signals it was their intention to run in, attack the U. S. steamer Michigan lying off Johnson's Island, and then release their friends imprisoned at that place. The men who got on board at Sandwich appeared to be English gentlemen; all well dressed in English clothes; two wearing kid gloves; inquired about the grapes and wines on the islands, and were sociable with the passengers. Think these four were Southerners dressed in English costume to disguise themselves. The party which came on at malden had nothing to do with those that came on at Sandwich, and did not appear to recognize them. Their clothes were worn, some of them ragged, and all had apparently seen hard service. The trunk was brought on by two of the hardest looking of the crowd. Nearly all paid their fare singly in greenbacks.

On arriving at Kelly's Island I remarked to the Sandwich party that I supposed they were going to get off there. Just then three or four men came to the gangway from the dock, and speaking to the Sankwich party said, "We have concluded to go to Sandusky." One of that party said, "We will go with you," and all came aboard. The Kelly-Island party proved to be a part of the same band. After the seizure the boat was steered down the lake directly away from their course to Sandusky, and in plain sight of Johnson's Island and the steamer Michigan. Some of them seemed to wish to burn the Parsons, others did not. This Scotchman I have spoken of said the boat would burn, or he would die.

He seemed to be a ringleader, and bent upon all the destruction possible. He said he had been lieutenant in the navy, but did not say what navy; others also told me so. He took charge of the deck, and seemed well versed in the business. They said part belonged to John Morgan's band, and one was named Morgan. There were about twenty-five unarmed soldiers on board the Island Queen when she was taken-returned 100-days' men from Ohio, going to Toledo to be mustered out. They were not under command of an officer. The engineer of the Island Queen resisted, and was instantly shot, but not killed. The number of our men, including crew, at the time the Parsons was captured, did not exceed thirty-five. The trunks of passengers were not generally plundered; most of it was sent ashore at Middle Bass Island. The cargo of thirty tons pig-iron, some furniture, and tobacco, was thrown overboard. I saw fire-balls of hemp, which the porter told me he was ordered to make - some to burn the Parsons, and some to burn Mr. Ives' house, on Grosse Isle.


Subscribed and sworn to this 25th day of September, A. D. 1864, before me.